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COMBINE: Green details 2019 NHL Draft class

"Looking at certain points of the draft, I think it's maybe a little bit stronger at the forward position than it is at D. But then you go a little bit later and it changes," said Oilers Director of Player Personnel Bob Green

by Paul Gazzola /

BUFFALO, NY - Every year, there's a new complexion to the latest NHL Draft cohort.

The 2018 NHL Draft class was headlined by the first-overall pick Rasmus Dahlin, a defenceman, then featured a handful of elite forwards, followed by a bevy of top-tier defencemen. That paved the way for the Oilers to select former London Knights captain Evan Bouchard, who's certainly lived up to the hype.

The 2019 NHL Draft class has a theme of its own, however, with ample amount of game-changing forwards available in the top-10, sprinkled in with some quality rearguards.

Oilers Director of Player Personnel Bob Green believes there is high-end skill at each position at the upcoming NHL Draft, which will take place at Rogers Arena in Vancouver, B.C., and is getting a first-hand glimpse of that best talent available in Buffalo, N.Y. at the Scouting Combine.

"Looking at certain points of the draft, I think it's maybe a little bit stronger at the forward position than it is at D," Green said to "But then you go a little bit later and it changes. 

"I think there's good forwards, there are good D and there are some good goaltenders. It just depends on what everybody is looking at or where some of these kids fall."

United States National Team Development Program centre Jack Hughes is ahead of the curve in the NHL Central Scouting's North American rankings, then is followed by Western Hockey League prospects Bowen Byram and Kirby Dach. 

Video: COMBINE | Bob Green on the Combine

Four of Hughes' teammates from the NTDP are featured in Central Scouting's top-10 North American list - including Alex Turcotte, Trevor Zegras, Cole Caufield and Matthew Boldy - while Canadian Hockey League skaters Dylan Cozens, Arthur Kaliyev and Peyton Krebs round out the first two handfuls of prospects.

Not to be forgotten are the Europeans, who boast no shortage of talent themselves - enough to manifest a Central Scouting list of their own. Players to take note of include rising Finnish star Kaapo Kakko, Russian Vasily Podkolzin, as well as Swedes Victor Soderstrom and Philip Broberg.

In essence, the skill available is plentiful. Green explained how he and his staff find ways to differentiate players from different leagues. Specifically, the CHL and USNTDP.

"It's really tough and they're two different leagues," he said. "They (the USNTDP) play a lot of international games, they play in the USHL and the CHL is a different thing altogether.

"There's enough history with the (US) National Development Program where there's enough data from years prior. You kind of measure the kids against (Auston) Matthews and the guys before them. That helps a little bit more."

It will all culminate in a final decision when Oilers President of Hockey Operations and General Manager Ken Holland takes to the Rogers Arena podium for the eighth-overall selection.

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